Trulicity, a medication prescribed to manage type 2 diabetes, has become a household name for many individuals navigating the complexities of their health. However, just like other medications, Trulicity comes with its own set of challenges and adverse reactions that need to be navigated cautiously. Let’s take a closer look at its common and severe side effects and how to manage them effectively.

How Does Trulicity Work?

Trulicity (dulaglutide) belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. It functions by mimicking the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which helps control blood sugar levels by encouraging insulin secretion and reducing the production of glucagon. By enhancing the body’s natural ability to stabilize blood sugar levels, Trulicity aids in improving overall diabetes management.

What Are the Side Effects of Trulicity?

While Trulicity is an effective tool for managing diabetes, it’s important to be mindful of its potential side effects. Common side effects may include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: You may experience mild to moderate nausea or vomiting, especially when starting Trulicity. This side effect often improves over time as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation: Fluctuations in bowel habits like diarrhea or constipation can occur with Trulicity use. Sustaining a healthy diet rich in fiber and staying hydrated can help alleviate these symptoms.
  • Headache: Headaches are a common side effect reported by individuals taking Trulicity. These headaches are usually mild and transient but should be monitored, especially if they persist or worsen.
  • Injection Site Reactions: Redness, itching, or swelling at the injection site is a common occurrence with this medication. Rotating your Trulicity injection sites and proper injection technique can help minimize discomfort.

While less common, Trulicity can also cause severe side effects that require immediate medical attention. These may include:

  • Pancreatitis: In rare cases, Trulicity can cause inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis. Symptoms may include severe abdominal discomfort that radiates to the back, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Prompt medical attention is necessary if pancreatitis is suspected.
  • Hypoglycemia: Trulicity, like other diabetes medications, can sometimes cause low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, confusion, trembling, and dizziness. Severe hypoglycemia can cause unconsciousness and seizures and requires immediate treatment with fast-acting carbohydrates.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to Trulicity may occur, characterized by hives, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling and inflammation of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. If you have an allergic reaction, seek prompt medical help and may need to stop taking the medication.

Trulicity can be a valuable asset in managing type 2 diabetes, but it’s essential to recognize the potential side effects and complications linked to its use. Understanding risks and managing side effects helps you and your doctor improve diabetes care and reduce problems. Like with any medicine, it’s important to think about the good and bad and choose wisely about treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do Trulicity side effects last? 

Trulicity side effects, such as nausea and gastrointestinal issues, usually improve within a few days to weeks as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if side effects continue or get worse, contact your healthcare provider.

Does Trulicity cause weight loss? 

Yes, a Trulicity medication can cause weight loss in some individuals. It functions by slowing gastric emptying and reducing appetite, which may result in weight loss over time.

How to inject Trulicity? 

To inject Trulicity, use the pre-filled pen or syringe and administer it once a week in your thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Be sure to adhere to your healthcare provider’s directions and rotate injection sites each week. 

Doctor’s Recommendation

Minor side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation may occur. To minimize these effects, advise patients to eat smaller meals over a longer period. Often, these side effects subside over time. If the patient is also taking metformin, the maximum tolerable dosage of Trulicity may be lower due to the concurrent use of the OCT1 transporter by both medications. Alcohol should be avoided, especially beyond moderate levels, as it increases the risk of nausea and the rare but serious condition of acute pancreatitis. Additionally, dose escalation should be avoided until the patient is fully acclimated to their current dosage.

Severe side effects like pancreatitis are extremely rare, particularly in individuals without a personal or family history of acute pancreatitis, which can be inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Caution is advised when prescribing this medication to patients taking calcium channel blockers or those with a history of gastrointestinal hypomotility requiring metoclopramide, as GLP-1 agonists also slow gastric emptying, which may exacerbate these conditions.